The Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources has said that payments totalling 123,872,00 TL have been made this year to 52 fishermen, who have handed over pufferfish they have caught to the Animal Husbandry Department. The Ministry of Agriculture launched the initiative including sporting contests, to try and counteract the damage created by the pufferfish.
According to the online scientific publication Bluebridge, hundreds of new alien species have been encountered in the coastal environments of the Mediterranean Sea in recent decades, including the poisonous pufferfish – Lagocephalus sceleratus. This invasive fish is native to the Pacific and Indian Ocean, and to the Red Sea, from where it likely migrated via the Suez Canal and rapidly invaded the Eastern Mediterranean Sea, reaching the western part of the basin. One of the issues with this fish is that it contains tetrodotoxin, a neurotoxin that can prove deadly to humans and for which there is no known antidote. Besides being poisonous, the pufferfish is also strong and has strong teeth that allow it to cut fishing nets. Today this pufferfish represents 4% of the weight of total artisan catches in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea and is becoming a threat.
Generally, it’s more and more evident that the invasion of this pufferfish is wreaking huge damage to the Mediterranean marine ecosystems, to people health, and also to fisheries.
Kibris Postasi, www.bluebridge-vres.eu